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Roasted Maple/Mahogany Hollow-Body Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by highdive, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. highdive

    highdive TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    56
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2013
    Location:
    NJ
    Been a while since I had anything build-related to share here, but I keep coming back to "school" here and to marvel at all the artistry and perseverance displayed here. So here goes...

    This project started with a friend of mine buying a guitar press from the Martin Factory a couple of years ago. He's a big Martin buff and jumped at the chance to own a bit of their history, plus the price was right. Sat in his garage, big heavy thing with the hand wheel on a jack screw at the top to operate it. Neither of us ever used it.

    Fast forward and it's time to build an office in the garage so everything must go. Not even sure if he sold it or scrapped it, but when he took it apart there was this huge hunk of mahogany in there which served, I think, as the bearing board for the press to press against. It was covered on the top side by a sheet of formica so it didn't even look like wood at first glance. This is it:

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    But under that, solid slab of mahogany about 26" x 22" but 2 1/4" thick.

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    I had a body shape sketched out and kind of a plan so I dove on in. Before the work on the body began I started on the top. The body would be hollowed out so the top needed to be strong. I chose maple over spruce because of this, and because I'm cheap. The local Lowes provided an interesting 48 x 6 x 1/4" slab and I picked up an offcut of walnut from a timber/flooring store.

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    Template time.

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    I cut the maple board into sections I could fit in my oven and roasted that mother for 3 1/2 hrs. I don't have pics of the glue up but I had to use four pieces to make the top and match the best I could. I planed the pieces down to 3/16" before joining them. This pic shows the walnut tailpiece which is a bit of a nod to a great luthier and friend in Woodstock, NY.

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    Minimal bracing was added and an aluminum plate under the keyhole section for strength, but also to attach a string ground. Necessary due to the type of bridge going on here.

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    By now I've changed the tailpiece, bridge and pickup complements at least three times, but this is it now.

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    I debated f-holes and came up with this idea instead. Oversized pickup routes with a rounded over edge just so I can hear myself while playing unplugged on the couch.

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    Control locations.

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    Back to the mahogany. I trimmed it up and have enough left over for a neck or two down the road, I think.
    Now, unless I rip this slab in half theres no way it's going through the planer I have. And I'm not doing that.
    Soldier on and cut out the body.

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    Attach template and route.

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    Good, now let's make it hollow.

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    OK, but it's still too thick, remember? No problem. Watch Sound City again on Netflix and casually saw away the excess. I hated this part.

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    I left a little "dogbone" in there to support the bridge studs and maybe to transfer some vibration to the back.

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    And I have to leave it there for now. Update tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  2. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

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    2,121
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    Bargersville/Indianapolis, Indiana
    Very nice! Looking forward to seeing this build!

    Eric
     
  3. highdive

    highdive TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    56
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2013
    Location:
    NJ
    Next, I glued in blocks for mounting the pickups. You can also see here the route for the control access is done on the back.

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    I remembered to run the ground wire from the bridge plate and glued the top to the body. It's routed flush and sanded here.

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    And with a coat of shellac.

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    Cover plate made from the walnut stock.

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    It's going to need an angled neck pocket, which I've never done. My calculation using internet help came out to 2.5 degrees so lets go with that and figure out how to do it. I ordered a 22 fret mahogany neck with a paddle headstock from a seller on Reverb. Once it arrived I could start my template. Good thing I waited because a 2 3/16" pocket would have been too wide.

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    I cut a pair of shims and used this angle indicator to get me in the ball park. If I'm right, I'll have room to adjust the bridge up or down to get to the action I want.

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    Check alignment about 1000 times.

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    I found a headstock shape sketched out online and modified it to my liking. It was intended to be a compact 3+3 but I'll be going with 4+2.

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    Again with just shellac on it. Actually I had to stain the neck to get it anywhere near the red color of the body wood. Compact Gotoh tuners were the right call.

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    For pickups, I went with these Gold Foil humbuckers from GFS. I put in 500k solid shaft pots and a three way blade switch. The bridge is a Schaller GTM with piezo saddles. I like and use two-voice guitars so this was a must. The piezo goes to a 500k volume pot and then to the ring lug on a stereo output jack.

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    At that point it looked like this with some test strings on it. I put a few more coats of shellac on it but no way this will be durable enough. In the fall I'll break it down and spray lacquer or poly over it and buff it out nice.

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    The last thing I added was a mini-toggle switch to select magnetic pickups, piezo, or both. I don't like busy control layouts but this switch is way quicker than fumbling with knobs in the middle of a song.

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    And finally, a few "beauty shots".

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  4. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's

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    Oct 23, 2011
    Location:
    Lynchburg Tennessee
    That looks great!!
     
  5. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
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    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    Bargersville/Indianapolis, Indiana
    Gorgeous! Love the natural look.

    Eric
     
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